Race Previews

2022 HoRT Preview...UPDATED....

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HOPKINS ROYAL TRIATHLON - According to inherently untrustworthy long-range weather reports, racing conditions for next Saturday's Hopkins Royal Triathlon will be awesome. Morning temps in the 60s beneath a blue sunny sky with light winds. The kind of day that feels good on your skin.

The HoRT (Doobie's preferred abbreviation) is not promoted as a highly competitive event; instead as one that favors newbies and weekend warriors. Still, the race is just too dang good to not entice some top athletes, and the overall and Age Group records certainly reflect that. Despite that, the event palpably celebrates the recreational triathlete.

In that MTN focuses on competition, our job here is to talk about the fast folks. 

Let's get to it, starting with the women.

Last year's top three ladies--CATHERINE LEE, ANDREA MYERS and BETTE ROWLEY (photo)--are back. In '21, Lee was only eight seconds faster than Myers, and 57-seconds ahead of Rowley. Will that order repeat? It certainly could. We like the way Lee raced at Door County, which suggested that she should be a bit faster this year, weather permitting. ...

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Bigger and Better...

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4WOMEN TRIATHLONPREVIEW - The second edition of this women-only sprint triathlon will happen next Sunday (Aug. 28), but not at Lake Ann in Chanhassen as originally advertised. Venue unavailability  has led to relocation to Shady Oak Beach in Minnetonka. Though its swim is a bit shorter than the Hopkins Royal Triathlon, the courses will be basically identical to the perennial Race of the Year nominee. (The HRT won the ROY award in 2015 and 2018.)...

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A Record For Cami?

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YOUNG LIFE TRIATHLON PREVIEW - The 19th edition of this great event will happen on Saturday and will feature a very competitive Olympic race. We believe it will also feature a women's course record in its Sprint contest. Let's start there.

Tara Makinen set the  women's Sprint record back in 2010. Her time was formidable: 1:03:32. The closest anyone has come to that mark since is local triathlete CAMI ECKHOFF's 1:05:47, which she turned in in 2021, her rookie season.

Eckhoff is much faster this year. In fact, she is one of the frontrunners for the 2022 Most Improved honor. Her win at Alexandria was impressive. Her 2nd behind national classer Christina Roberts at Tri West was even moreso. Cami is ready to do some rewriting. We suspect she'll pop a 1:02 (or faster) on Saturday, which should put her in the overall (men and women) Top 3 once again. (She placed 3rd overall in 2021.)

We are loving Eckhoff's competitive trajectory. We see her as being the next true tri star from Detroit Lakes, a city that has produced Doug Davis and Hanna Grinaker Cooley. ..

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The Most Competitive Tri of 2022?

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MAPLE GROVE TRIATHLON PREVIEW - The 13th edition of this great event is happening two Saturdays from now (Aug. 27). Staged at Weaver Lake Park, one of out state's premier tri venues, the Olympic and Sprint races promise to be the most competitive on the 2022 Minnesota calendar. With an anticipated 1000 entrants, MG should also be our state's second largest swim-bike-run behind the YWCA Women's Tri....

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Urban Grandeur and Rural Charm...

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SUNDAY RACE PREVIEWS - There are two great triathlons next Sunday. One is huge. The other is medium-sized. One is urban. The other is rural. One has filled. The other will close its registration window tonight (Thursday) at 11:59 PM...

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Brand Loyalty & the Return of "Big Daddy"...

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NORTHWOODS TRIATHLON PREVIEW - Few races can boast the level of "Brand Loyalty" that next Saturday's Northwoods Triathlon enjoys. One of our state's few remaining "early fillers," the fast, scenic north country event feels more like a reunion than a typical triathlon. This is because the vast majority of its entrants are recidivists, many of whom have  done most the race's previous eighteen editions. BROOKS GROSSINGER, for instance, has raced here on sixteen occasions, missing only in 2005 and 2006. Notably, he has won all 16 times. Even more notable is the fact he has broken the magical one-hour mark on fourteen occasions. Only three other men --Jordan Roby, David Lewis and Casey Miller--have cracked 60-minutes here.

Will Brooks win for the 17th time next Saturday? Probably, but the more interesting question is whether he will continue to break one hour on the .25 - 14.09 - 3.1 course.

Similarly, the question of whether super-Grand Master CHERYL ZITUR, 57, the hands-down pre-race women's favorite, will repeat as champion is not nearly as interesting as whether she will, once again, break 1:10. So you know, the next fastest time by a 55-59 woman at Northwoods is ROBIN TEDLUND's 1:13:07, set in 2017. Tedlund, in case you don't know, is a two-time Worlds medalist / Minnesota...

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